Letter To The Editor: Response to Volume 17 Issue 38, ‘Lactation Stations Now Available’

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Educational institutions successful at retaining stu­dents after childbirth find that establishing campus-wide lactation stations are a worth­while investment.

Of utmost importance to breastfeeding women when returning to school is finding a convenient, com­fortable, and safe place to pump milk. Pumping at school allows moms to con­tinue to feed their babies breastmilk while also main­taining their supply. If a new mother does not have access to a “lactation station,” she is more likely to miss classes or drop out of school.

The new lactation sta­tions at CNM will improve graduation rates, resulting in New Mexico being more competitive when recruiting future employers and creat­ing the jobs of tomorrow.

The major health orga­nizations recommend that babies receive only breast­milk for the first 6 months and continue receiving breastmilk throughout the first 1-2 years. This is not only good for the health of mother and baby, but also is associ­ated with lower healthcare costs statewide.

For example, babies who are not breastfed are more likely to be diag­nosed with type II diabe­tes as adults. A National Institutes of Health study conducted with the Gila River Pima Indian Community showed that breastfeeding for two months or longer, is associ­ated with a 40% risk reduc­tion for the baby developing diabetes by age 40.

Each year in New Mexico the total health­care costs for diabetes aver­ages $1.36 bil (NMDOH, 2010). If every New Mexican baby (instead of the current 51.8% who were breastfed at all and the 14.9% who were exclusively breastfed) was breastfed for 2 months or longer that could result in annual savings of more than $270 mil statewide.

The New Mexico Breastfeeding Task Force praises Jennifer Cornish and Chioma Heim’s efforts in establishing lactation sta­tions across CNM campuses to support their students. The NMBTF calls on all edu­cational institutions through­out New Mexico to follow CNM’s lead to support their students- this is good for stu­dent-moms, babies, and the state as a whole.

Cindy Chavez, MPH, IBCLC, State Coordinator New Mexico Breastfeeding Task Force

Lissa Knudsen, MPH, NM Breastfeeding Task Force Baby Friendly Project Coordinator

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